Thursday Tidbits

Posted on September 17, 2020 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments



Ahem. Snow on the mountains and snow in the forecast today



Warning. Senior’s rant.

I would like to think that I’ve mellowed with age. Nothing much bothers me anymore. I often think of that wonderful book by the American author and psychotherapist, Richard Carlson who penned that wonderful and insightful book, “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff” published in 1997. We humans can get ourselves in a lather over the most ridiculous things but when we look at these things in the clear light of day, we often give our heads a shake wondering why we expended so much negative energy on such mundane things.

This is all well and good. Yes, I’ve mellowed and rarely lose my cool until someone royally pisses me off.

I don’t mean to make light of concussions. I’ve had two. In sports jargon, a severe blow to the head is often referred to as “getting your bell rung”. My first concussion happened in elementary school when a big lad fell on me while sliding down an icy hill outside of Morrison School. The second happened when I was playing junior hockey when an opponent laid a two hander with his stick on my head sending me to the hospital overnight. Some have suggested that I never quite recovered.

Upon my arrival in Kangiqsujuaq, I decided to get a landline. Generations of children have never seen one let alone know what they are. Why would I possibly want to get an old- fashioned phone in this digital smart phone age?

Safety. In an emergency, I need to be able to get in touch with someone without having to rely on the internet.

You see, there is no cell phone service here in the north. Yes. We have internet but it is not always reliable. Case in point. I received a bill from my internet provider. Even though I have been dutifully making payments for almost a year with the credit card information they have on file, for some unknown reason, the last payment didn’t get processed. They asked me to go online to update my credit card information even though it is the same. Stay with me here. The problem is that I haven’t been able to contact my internet provider because the connection has been so poor lately. Would you consider this just a tad ironic?

Our community is served by one company when it comes to phone service. I won’t begin to tell you the hoops I had to go through to get my phone hooked up. The word I’m thinking about is hell which oddly enough rhymes quite nicely with the service provider. I didn’t expect this to be easy. I wasn’t disappointed. However, it has been worth the wait as I can now place and receive calls without all of the annoying interruptions and delays I experience when trying to chat on Messenger, Facetime or WhatsApp.

One month after the installation, I received my first bill with the instructions to go online and register. I tried unsuccessfully on at least four occasions, twice at home and twice at school where the internet connection is marginally better than home… except when it’s not.

Last weekend, I decided that I would give this my full attention and take whatever time was necessary to get this matter resolved. The last thing I wanted was to have my phone cut off. Having had success in the past with “live chats”, I contacted the phone company and started down the long torturous path to hell. I was gingerly passed from one agent to the next as they tried desperately to find my account. I reckoned that the phone number was a dead giveaway. (Don’t get sarcastic, Len). The last trouble shooter, the lovely person who guaranteed me that they were the ultimate problem solver, suggested that we try and resolve the issue “by phone”! Why is Alanis Morissette ringing in my ear?

The agent called me at home on the phone line that this company provided using my phone number. As my temperature rose ever so slightly, I mentioned that all I wanted to do was give them money. By the time the call ended, we had made no progress. They could not find me anywhere in the system. And then came the right hook to my temple. “Would you like to give me your credit card information to make the payment once we find your account?” I respectfully declined. I know you can feel the sarcasm oozing out of everyone of my pores. I told the agent that I would try to resolve this again after I took a leisurely 36km walk to blow off some steam.

I lay on my couch. It almost felt like I had suffered a concussion. The phone rang. “Mr. MacDonald, we understand that you would like to have your phone disconnected. ”Luckily, I had taken an online course during the pandemic on ‘trauma informed mindfulness’. I took a few deep breaths and implored the agent not to disconnect my phone.

A few minutes later, the phone rang again. I was relieved because at least I knew that my phone still worked. It was my service provider wondering if I would be interested in doing a customer satisfaction survey. I am NOT joking. I politely declined.

I was clearly rattled. I had just spent the better part of two hours of my life in a state of frustration and bewilderment. I desperately need a coffee and some food. I opened a fresh bag of coffee. The smell was divine. As I spun around to grab some food from the fridge, I knocked the bag on the floor. I will confess. I used the F word. After sweeping up the contents and returning them to the bag ( Don’t come over for coffee – grounds have taken on a new meaning), I put a plate of stir fry in the microwave. I sat at the kitchen table and flicked on the television. (I have a story about my cable bill too but I have restricted myself to 1500 words on this piece).

Just as I was putting the first mouthful of rice in my mouth, an ad came on the T.V. I won’t insult your intelligence, but it was a well- known phone service provider. My fork missed my mouth by about a half an inch and several beautiful morsels of rice rolled effortlessly onto the floor. There were still remnants of coffee grounds in the dustpan as I swept up my second mess in less than five minutes.

Stay tuned for the next installment. Or better still, give me a call. If you get a recorded message that the number is no longer in service, you’ll know I didn’t get my problem resolved.

It’s never pleasant having your “bell” rung.

“Isn’t that the way they say things go,

But let’s forget all that,

And give me the number if you can find it (!)

So I can call them just to tell them I’m fine.”

Operator. Jim Croce

Have a great weekend.



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